Wife of dead man says police action not justified

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Phoenix Police have launched an internal investigation into the death of a retired corrections officer during an incident at the man's home.

Police and the family have a very different stories but they both agree that police were let inside the residence without resistance.

The family said there was medication on the table so police should have known he was diabetic and using a Taser on him was a bad idea.

Police said 65-year-old Balantine Mbegbu was out of control.

A picture of Mbegbu sits in the same west Phoenix living room where a confrontation with police ended with him dying in custody.

Now his widow, Ngozi Mbegbu, is standing with civil rights activists demanding answers.

Her husband died after being Tased by a Phoenix police officer.

She wails, "I really want to know why my husband was killed for doing nothing."

But police said on Oct. 6 they were called to the Nigerian immigrant couple's home on reports of domestic violence.

They said the retired Arizona Department of Corrections employee assaulted an officer and after more officers were called they said, "Mr. Mbegbu began to actively fight and violently resist arrest. He spilled hot liquid on the officers and kicked an officer in the groin."

That is when they used a Taser on him. Shortly after they said he went into medical distress. They began first aid and he was taken to hospital where he died.

The family's attorney has a very different story. Sabinus Megwa says, "They went to his home without a warrant. They asked him questions. He told them to leave his house. They refused to leave and at the end of the day they killed him."

Phoenix police have launched an inquiry. For his family, including his two teenage children, the answers cannot come soon enough.

The head of the NAACP here in Phoenix, Rev. Oscar Tillman, said he has spoken to both sides and at this point does not see anything suspicious, because it was a Taser and not a gun and because it was a domestic violence call.

But he has advised the family to make sure they get a second autopsy.